You make time for the things you want to make time for in life.
And sometimes that means making time for you.
I took two days off from work last week, which is kind of a big deal for me. I know I’ve been in the corporate world for more than a year now, but I feel like I’m still kind of adjusting to it in some ways. When I was teaching, I rarely missed days (except for in my final few months when I had so many days saved up that I stopped working on Wednesdays), mainly because it’s almost more work to prepare sub plans and all of the preparations for your absence than it is to show up and work that day. And now I feel like I will get way too far behind on things if I miss, so my PTO just keeps accumulating.
But then I reached a point.
I have a lot going on in life, and I really needed to be away for just a little while—even if I didn’t actually go anywhere. I decided to take last Tuesday and Wednesday off and do nothing that involved thinking about work or stress or anything that would make me sad.
The first thing I did was sleep past 4:07 a.m., which was nice. Then, after my track workout, I met my friend Jayna to go walk on the trail, and she always cheers me up and offers insight to give me better perspective on things. We walked a pretty far distance, which meant I needed to replenish that lost energy with froyo. After froyo, I decided to go ride the uptown trolley. I had only ridden it once before, and because of a fella, it’s a memory I don’t like to think about often.
I needed to change that.
As I waited for the trolley to arrive at the station, I got in some quality people watching—after all, there are definitely some interesting characters in that part of town. I even used some guy’s phone (per his request) to video him riding around on some round contraption that looked like it involved a sufficient amount of balance. Then there was the man who had given up on his shirt for the day. I mean, it was a little hot outside, but I wasn’t really expecting to see someone going for the shirtless khakis look.
To each his own.
Finally, the trolley arrived. Even though there were strangers all around me, and everything throughout the city was pretty noisy around us, it was an incredibly peaceful experience. Was it a little lonely? Sure. But it was a good escape from the hamster wheel that I often create for myself. I got to sit there—and just sit—without worrying about a single thing going on around me. And I was able to chat with a man about why the hiccups he was dealing with were more annoying than the hernia he suffered two months ago. His logic escaped me, but I’ve never had a hernia, so I can’t say I’m an expert in how that pain compares to hiccups. (I still question his judgment, though.)
I might not have left the trolley wiser than when I got on it, but I did leave feeling refreshed. Thank you, transit system.
I took lunch to my sister on Wednesday and spent most of the day on my sofa taking naps (yes, plural) and watching This Is Us before going to hang out with my niece for a bit before it was time to coach my softball guys. I was nothing close to productive that day, and I actually felt OK about that.
I think it’s good to get away from the norm every once in a while and make time for yourself. You don’t necessarily have to go full out “Treat Yo Self,” but maybe you do. Sure, if you focus solely on your stuff, then it becomes selfish, but taking your own time every now and then is probably healthy.
I think it also helps you appreciate other people more. When I was on the trolley, I felt like no one could bother me during that time. I was riding a trolley in the middle of the day when I should have been at work. No one there knew that about me. No one knew what my story is, what I’m going through in life right now or why I was riding the trolley all by myself with no actual destination. I didn’t know any of their stories or why they were there that day, either—and I think that made me love them more. Maybe they are going through similar or worse times in their lives and needed a trolley ride to remind them that everything is going to be alright.
So take your time, and ride your trolley when you need to, because even if it takes you right back to where you were, it may have been the exact adventure you needed to get you where you need to be.